January 15, 2009
Posted: 1303 GMT
A central storehouse for relief supplies is ablaze right now in Gaza city.
The fire left black smoke hanging over Gaza City, and there was no way to control the fire, said John Ging, the head of operations in Gaza for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.
"It's a very big fire, and we're not able to get it under control at the moment," he said. With gun battles going on around the facility, "the emergency services are not able to get to us."
The compound was hit by shrapnel and tank fire during clashes Thursday morning, Ging said. Three workers were hurt, and the compound's warehouse and workshop were burning out of control within an hour and a half, he said.
"What we've had all night and into this morning is a relentless bombardment of this area by artillery fire, which is coming from kilometers away, and by tank fire," he said. He said staffers identified the source of the fires as white phosphorous shells, whose use is restricted under international law.
Welcome to the Inside the Middle East blog where CNN's journalists post news, views and video from across the region. This is also a place where you can start the discussion so please keep your comments coming. We highlight not only current news stories but also anecdotes and issues that don't always make the top of the headlines.
Read more about CNN's special reports policy
Watch the show
Inside the Middle East airs the first week of every month on the following days and times: